Parents can save an average of £1,205 on the cost of a family holiday by taking their children out of school in term time, new research reveals.
Analysis of holiday prices from several unnamed travel agents was made after Freedom of Information requests by currency provider International Currency Exchange found that parents paid more than £4 million in fines over the last academic year for taking their children on term-time holidays without school permission.
Holiday prices were compared for June and August at three and four-star hotels across a number of destinations in Europe and Florida.
ICE found that parents who go on holiday during term time pay an average of 59% more than they would during term time, costing an extra £1,205 – the price of another holiday for many families.
A trip to Walt Disney World in Florida outside of school holidays gave the biggest saving, with term-time trips £1,900 cheaper.
Holidays to the Algarve, Majorca and Gran Canaria offered term-time savings of more than £1,000, when comparing prices in June and August.
The savings of a term-time holiday far outweigh the £60 fine for taking a child out of school.
Councils issued almost 85,000 fines during the 2016-17 academic year, totalling £4.1 million, according to Freedom of Information responses obtained by the currency provider.
The figures revealed that parents in Lancashire received the highest number of fines (5,768), followed by Bradford (5,256) and Leeds (4,735).
The research also showed how lucrative fines can be, with Bradford Council receiving £284,830 in fines during the 2016-17 academic year – up 18% year-on-year from £240,560.
Lancashire Council received the second highest amount in fines, bringing in £271,380.
ICE general manager Louis Bridger said: “It is interesting to see how much parents are willing to risk in order to go on holiday with their children during term time but, with tour operators and airlines charging high prices for families to go abroad during the school holidays, many will see a £60 as a price worth paying for a cheaper getaway – especially when you can save almost £2,000 on some holidays.
“However, as the results of the research show, prosecution is a real risk for parents who do decide to take their children on holiday during school term time, and something that just isn’t worth the savings on a holiday.
“We recommend that parents instead look to shop around when looking for a summer break, and look to make savings in other areas, such as their travel money, to make up the extra cost of going away during the school holidays.”
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